The Write Way 1: Kick-starting your creative writing project | Cheryl Jung | Skillshare

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The Write Way 1: Kick-starting your creative writing project

teacher avatar Cheryl Jung, Writer/Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Lesson 1: Recording your ideas and making sense of the madness

    • 3. Exercise 1: Creating the 'skeleton' of your creative project

    • 4. Lesson 2: Setting goals and creating a structured timeline

    • 5. Exercise 2: Sketching a brief timeline for your project

    • 6. Lesson 3: Planning your next steps and securing funding

    • 7. Conclusion

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About This Class

This is the first instalment of "The Write Way," a series of courses to help you move your creative writing career forward. This first course centers on how to turn the swirl of ideas in your mind into a coherent structure that you can follow! 

I'll be sharing some tricks and techniques that I've personally used to plan and structure creative writing projects. The tips I'll share with you will help give you direction and take you from an initial idea to a piece of published work.

At the end of the course, I hope to have armed you with an arsenal of tools for you to formulate your own sure-win techniques. The ideas I'll share with you will also enable you to craft a schedule that works best for you, and help you make creative plans that cater to how you, personally, digest and process information. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Cheryl Jung



Hello, I'm Chaerin. I work in the media industry and write for a living - but in my free time, I'm an author of short stories, novellas, and screenplays.

I published my first microfiction collection, "star fall", in 2021. It's available at Books Kinokuniya, and also on the Atelier Arcadia webstore.


I'm currently working on two projects - "Closer", an art/writing collection, and a novella titled "Under Your Sky". 

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1. Introduction: Hey everybody, my name is Sharon Jones and I'm a writer. Welcome to the right way, a series of bite-sized creative writing courses that I've put together to help you get cracking on your very own piece of creative work. Before we get started, here's a little bit about me. I'm currently based in Asia. And in 2021 I published staff will first micro fiction collection. I hold a Master's degree in the arts and creative industries from King's College London. And I'm the Director of two collectives, one for Asian creatives and one for Indie writers. I also happen to have a full-time job and Asian media industry. I hope that through these courses you'll be able to kick start a creative writing project or dive into painting a story of your own. We're going to be looking at different parts of the creative writing process, like how to translate your ideas into a piece of written work. The intricacies of world-building and nitty-gritty of self-publishing. I hope you're ready. Let's get going. 2. Lesson 1: Recording your ideas and making sense of the madness: So you want to get started on writing something, anything, or basically everything. You've got a soil of ideas in your head. And everything seems really exciting all at once. But hold on a moment. This is a great place to be in. But I'm a firm believer that every predicts pretty much doomed to fail if you don't have a firm plan of where you're going. So during the session, I'm going to be sharing some techniques I've personally used for planning and creative writing projects. I encourage you to find your own formulation and combination of techniques that work best for you. Working around how you personally digest and process information. Well, first of all, your ideas have to go somewhere. And while this might seem like a little bit of a no-brainer, It's always good to have a system in place to record your thoughts. I use different methods to record my ideas and iPad app for one, like Evernote or the notes app is where a lot of my immediate areas go. I also enjoy using a notebook to record idea is to have coalesced into more complete thoughts. And for some dream journals and scrap booking as well as vision boards also work. Make use of apps to your disposal like Pinterest. Sometimes you can even organize your ideas for setting. So character studies according to folders, I personally like to set aside a time everyday to get your ideas down. This doesn't have to be a really long period of time, but committing ten to 15 minutes to this process, particularly in the planning stages, goes a long way. Even if the ideas of fragments that it can form into something more complete down the road, follow them into various categories under Notes app, be it by theme, genre, or just any category you can think of. I personally like to sort my ideas by theme or genre. Because from there, I know exactly what kind of resources to draw on for a specific project. So the idea is for silk punk, go into this folder and ideas for Usha, go into another folder. So assuming you have a list of ideas, it's time to form these loose threads into more coherent thoughts. At this stage, I find it very helpful to think about what is that clear. I want the project to look like. There are shorter form works like short stories, micro fiction collections, and many poetry collections. These usually take me anywhere between four to six months to create. Then there are mid leg the pieces like novelists and novella that will take between six to nine months to create from scratch. Then there are long pieces of work like novels that can take a year and beyond. Especially if you're planning a multi-part CVs, every line that you can recalibrate your time wolves. But by defining from the outset, what do you actually want to create, setting timelines and planning your work accordingly will become a lot easier. This does not have to be the final form of your work or your timeline. Novels can be converted into novelist and short stories into novel ads. Or maybe you'll scrap that idea entirely and write a screenplay. So don't feel defined or restricted by our initial plans. But think about it as a framework that gives you the potential to chart your path. The most important thing is that you have an idea and you're going somewhere with it with concrete goals in mind for what the final production look like. At the outset, you should also be defining the boundaries, length, and scale of your piece. Giving yourself a target word count often helps with this. And when defining your work scope, be ambitious, but know your limits. You need to measure how much time you have juggling classes or a full-time job. And even if you do have the luxury of time to commit to a project without these considerations, it's always good to set plan in mind. Having a plan for how long the target, what counts, or a vague idea of how many chapters you want your work to be. It's still really helpful to define how long your plot arcs can be and allowing you to judge how much room you have to flesh out plot lines or characters. When defining your work length, think about the pieces of work that you've personally enjoyed. What made them just to write night? Did you find them too long or too short? And ask yourself, why? Then compare notes of your own projects and think about what you can do to imitate the grades or do even better. Link us all on the scale of your work and what could make it unique. The way you approach something could provide a fresh take on the genre. And by breaking a full length piece into several mini chat book sized works, you can make something really marketable and easily digestible. Don't be afraid to scale up or scale down along the way. Some projects can turn out to be massive at the outset. But if you find that you might have bitten off more than you can chew, or if you can stand to be more ambitious. Don't be afraid to make adjustments and re-calibration. Along the way. It is SEO project and you're only really accountable to yourself. You will often find that you have a vast range of ideas to start. It is not a bad thing for sure. And it would be probably more of an issue if you didn't. But at some plate, preferably several weeks to a month into your process. I would advise you to look into narrowing it down to a cohesive plot. Might think of this as a way that you can form and mold your way through the narrative. A plot line should work for you in a way that you can draw a line or threat through each part of it from point to point. And stories do not happen in isolation. You will need to craft your way around them and trim them and expand them accordingly. Some ideas and subplots you will find a better worked on in separate pieces of work that you will find significantly more rewarding. And then there will be subplots, that kind of surface that you definitely want to look into and include or craft the story around. I personally find it really helpful to organize my thoughts and ideas into specific sections so I can see what ideas fit and what don't. It's a habit of mine to group them into beginning, middle, and end stages, then move them into Chapter form. This way you don't feel overly restricted from the outset about the order in which things need to be written. It's also here at this point that you have the luxury of formulating your own jigsaw puzzle of a plot and mapping your own courts. Stories don't have to be told in chronological order. And by building and breaking things down into different sections, you'll get to see things really clearly. I have a personal technique of writing things down on post-it notes, each representing either a theme or a major plot point. I want to introduce, either lay them out, and reordered a mess. I wish this is a really important stage of my personal process. I think of it as planting a seed and watching it take roots. The story has to start somewhere and now you have the building blocks that you need. That's a good time to, at this point, to start a second document or notebook where the ideas you might not be using can be stored as a repository of certs. Don't let them go to waste become from you. They're your unique ideas. If you've gone through the previous steps, you should already have an idea of what you want to write and the way things are gonna go. That means the idea has been seeded and it's time to let your tree grow. This is where you can incorporate sub-branches to or a subplots into your planning process. Think about the general structure of your work and how you can flesh out each section a little further. Within 100 words, for instance, is there something you can include or different track you can lead characters down That's tangential and not as important as the main plot, but still pretty interesting. One caveat, however, is that I would encourage you not to over-complicate things. Not every character needs the sidekick, and not every plot needs to subplot. So many subplots actually might muddy the water and make it overly confusing for your reader. So remember, there are always SQL query calls and many other ways to expand on a good idea. I suggest listing down your ideas and taking one or two days off before coming back to them. In my experience, this has given me a little bit of space to figure out what speaks to me as being the most compelling idea. Something that seemed really, really cool when I first wrote it down on further consideration. Might not be bad, awesome, and having clarity with some distance thus help. During this consideration and re-evaluation process, it helps to have writers remember that characters and plots are not one-dimensional. Trees have branches moving in different directions. So think about how each branch of your plot can be developed and how they help you color in your world. On another note, while trimming and pruning a plot line, I find it helps to think of each of your characters is real people. And everything that happens in your plot as a genuine real life occurrence. This is when you can figure out what's important to the story. Everything that exists on the page should be there for purpose and serve as an instrument and a means to an end. If you think about your characters as real people with real logic to the things that they do. It will help make your writing a lot tighter. You will not be afraid us wall to be Maslow's with yourself when cutting things out. What you want is to snip and prune your way through the process right now to make sure the outcome is as clean and free of convoluted thought as possible. It is possible to have things that are both cleaner and complicated. But you leave yourself open to inconsistency and having to invest loads of time to go back. We read and spent hours tidying up and cleaning up pothos. If you don't do this. I have learned this the hard way. 3. Exercise 1: Creating the 'skeleton' of your creative project: So we've arrived at our first activity. I'd like you to take the next 15 minutes to write down a brief skeleton of your projects. You can do so by opening up a document or taking out a piece of paper and answering these questions. First of all, summarize in one sentence what this product is about. Like I mentioned, earliest, seed the idea and write a one-sentence summary and response to each of these questions. Where does the story start? How does it progress, and how does it end? What are the key characters? What an amine subplots? How long is it in terms of and word length? And how long will you take to complete it? And I want you to write down as well, three-point summary of your predicts. Unique selling points. What makes it so special? I'll see you back here in 15 minutes. 4. Lesson 2: Setting goals and creating a structured timeline: Now that we've set about planning the project itself, we're going to be covering how you can plan your own time. A huge part of by persistence, what I recommend as scheduling a time. For creativity. Time management is quite an important part of the process. Particularly if you aren't pursuing this as a full-time job. We aren't super human as much as we wish we were. And we all need time to rest and recharge. And usually that leaves you with precious time that you should use a maximized to work on your creative work. Which brings me to my point, it needs to be a PaaS, like a personal and purposeful exercise. We're timess coughed out for specific parts of your project. I find it much easier and much more manageable to track my progress. By breaking a full project down into bite-sized sections. I might work on a section today before resting, recuperating, and tackling another item on the list. I also enjoy giving myself sufficient bandwidth to rework and tweak certain sections stairs. Chance that you might not be satisfied with something that you've done. And we'll want to make adjustments. Find a time management and timing technique to focus your energy that works for you. Some of my friends have recommended the Pomodoro Technique, which I personally am okay with, but I enjoyed the idea of time writing sprints. Some artists I work with also find benefit and timed art exercises where they see what they can get to in a set time for him from 10 minute sketches to one. Our sketches. This helps stuff and myself will stay on track while developing the skill of being able to work within set hours, which I find invaluable. However, if you find yourself consistently feeding blocked, that is a good indicator that you might be maxing out on your creative capacity for a project. You aren't a robot and some things need time and space to breathe and occur naturally and not and cannot be forced. I usually navigate rightist blocked by shifting my energy to a different project or by pivoting over to another section. It's also fair to take a break from the project entirely. It's not a matter of giving up and letting things develop in the time they need to. Forcing something out of a mix projects feel rushed and contrived. So make sure you accommodate rest and relaxation into your timeline. So you don't feel pressured to compensate for a downed road. Less is as much a part of creativity as any other part of it. Sometimes this is also useful to go back to your vision board or your plans to see what needs to change or be tweaked and sort of rejuvenate or re-inspired yourself. To that end. I find it fairly useful to set myself a timeline and some smart goals. Smart, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals essentially give you a way to chart your progress while being realistic and honest with yourself about what is achievable and what his thoughts. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Consider who you need to involve, what exactly you need to accomplish and determine the obstacles in your way. It's also good to have a measurable metric or milestones help you see if you're moving forward or not. Make your goals achievable as well. It will help you to prioritize how to accomplish them. It also helps to save. You need to learn new skills or developed tools to do something. It's important that your goals are relevant and in line with the rest of your project. Particularly if you're not the only one working on it. If the goals are realistically time-bound, you'll find yourself being able to move forward more efficiently. Peck each segment of your work to a time goal, and then check them off. It's so satisfying. By setting short, medium and long-term goals, you can also ensure that you're not pushing yourself too far. I'm moving things too far back. To the extent that you compromise the quality of your work. It's important to not rush your process, but also important to stay on track. It's important to catalog and keep track of your process. Sometimes you might want to retrace your steps and go back to a previous draft. And this is when this part of the process is so handy. I personally enjoy using apps like Evernote and notion that come with templates to get my thoughts sorted out. Evernote for one, syncs across devices really efficiently and helps you organize your thoughts into folders that are easily assessable. Similarly, notion comes with loads of templates that are easily accessible both within the app or from other users. This includes charts, timelines, and other color-coded myths he embeds for videos and such that you can work with. And if all else fails, That's always good old scheduling on pen and paper. Bullet journaling helps sometimes, especially if the idea of putting into paper appeals to you. It's also nice to see your work laid out nicely with pretty colors and stickers. I'm illustrations. I can totally relate. 5. Exercise 2: Sketching a brief timeline for your project: We're now going to do our second little exercise of this workshop. Take the next 15 minutes to look at your schedule and sketch a brief timeline of how you're going to work on your creative project. If you like, you can make use of the sample schedules downloadable with this class to guide you. Good luck, and I'll see you back here in 15 minutes. 6. Lesson 3: Planning your next steps and securing funding: Well, now you've created your very own schedule. We'll now move on to a part of the planning process that many people feel unfortunately neglect, which is considering what your next steps will be. Whatever your projects you should think about the end game before you even begin. The main question you should be asking yourself is, what is my goal and how am I going to get there? For one, if you want to publish anything, it helps to do some research at the very outset about things that you need to consider as part of your checklist that need to be planned ahead of time. For one, functional concerns like ISBN applications, licensing, and other things that need to be ironed out and planned. These are really important and integral to the person. You might also need to consider engaging someone to copy, edit your work. Think about who that person is going to be and whether the app profile fits your own as a creative. I also think that promotional strategies and marketing are potentially annoying, but equally important part of the process. I recommend considering how you're going to get your work in front of more people. And making smart goals about this at the beginning of your project. More often than not, marketing a project is also about marketing yourself. How are you gonna get people interested in you and your work? And hint, It's not only about Instagram followers. Even though that's pretty important in some time. Thinking about how other authors have built their audience successfully and how you can do the same. You don't have to follow their path. You can forge your own, but this often takes time and can only be done through a system of Charles and error. You might also need to invest time to network and build a list, go to contacts who can help you out with that. I suggest reaching out amides or other authors and artists to find out what you need and find out what your viable options are. In the same vein, setting up yourself for success isn't just about smoothing with the right people. You might also need to do some market research and testing before even starting on your work. Otherwise, you might hit down the track and go in blind. And no one wants that. If you're a writer, you should be frequent thing bookstores in your city. If you're an artist, go to arches. These are all things you can do on your own without much support or prompting. And by seeing what people are reading, what bookstores are stocking and what shows are in town. You can see what people are interested in, what's selling, what's viable, and what's marketable, both online and offline. I suggest checking out the bestseller list online and offline and trawling bookshelf and the walls of galleries. This is not only really fun, but it's also nice to see what catches your eye personally. Ask yourself when you're there, why you were interested or attracted to the item, a book. And there's usually a reason for it, and it might inspire you in some way. If you want to delve into whether something works should also doesn't hurt to do further research this and you can tap on resources like friends, classmates, coworkers, or contexts in the creative community. For one, you can give your friends and elevator pitch of your ideas, swear them to secrecy and then give them a rundown of your bright idea and see how they react. Be open and get their feedback and most of all, be open. Sometimes criticism might be harsh to here and it's never want to feel great and the moment, but it's what you need to hear to make the adjustments you need on your own work. And another way to do this is to join communities and think out loud during group discussions. Go to forums and ask speakers and panelists your burning questions. Sometimes industry voices can be really helpful in guiding you. Because these people have been round and communities and mock-ups long enough to understand what works and what might struggle. It's also important as well for certain kinds of work to conduct an online poll. To see what people like. If you're part of an online community on Discord or an equivalent, this might be something your community managers might be okay with. Ask your fellow creatives what they like to read all pull them about the kind of entities they want to see. The answer might actually surprise you. Sometimes. One caveat, This might run counter to everything I've just said. But while doing research as well in good, don't feel the need to bend with the wind and do whatever one is asking you to do. If you have clear goals in mind. These feedback channels are simply ways in which you can spot where the blind spots and potential pitfalls are. But if you want to persevere as simply being aware of them and putting in place ways to mitigate these failure points is more than sufficient. You can't please everyone and you don't need to be like everyone else. And it's more important to do the project you want to do rather than the project people wants you to do. All this talk about communities brings me to my next point. Creativity often doesn't happen in a bubble, and sometimes projects become so much more fun when there's an opportunity for collaboration and sharing. Find collaborators whose portfolios you've researched and do your due diligence of checking their soul falls beyond the first 10 posts that you see. Do you a brief Google background search of their past work to see if their values as a creative align with yours also helps to consider the idea of unique collaboration. Think about what you can bring to the table and not what they can help you with are the things you wish you could expand on your work that you don't currently have the skill set to do. And how we're working with this particular creative, open, huge learning more about that skill. Miss Darrow facet of their creative work that you really like to expose yourself to or as part of their practice, something that fascinates. You. Get interested in unique angles and consider collaborating or someone who's scope is entirely different from yours. This could be an illustrator who can work with a musician or a writer who can work with an artist. This makes for opportunities to develop crusts, medium work that can potentially span across platforms. Something that's become increasingly appealing and popular with the number of digital platforms they're made available to support this. I highly recommend getting to know the person before you embark on any projects, have coffee with them, or setup a Zoom call if you're meeting them for the first time and gauge if they're genuinely interested and passionate to be working with you. You want someone who's equally excited to be working on this SUR with them and who is willing to pull their weight and invest energy into co-creating an idea with you. Share your ideas freely and be open to friendly critique and criticism. But don't be afraid to be frank if you don't wish to collaborate with them or if you don't like a certain idea. Of course, there are many ways to say this, but this is your opportunity to be frank while making new friends, learning something new and be honest about your own practice. And this is how really lasting and rewarding partnerships can be forged, whether you're working alone or with a collaborator. It's also really important to consider something that some creative spite, really irritating funding. Before you begin, ask yourself the hard questions about how much money you're realistically going to need to have an itemized list and check the prices ahead of time so you don't get caught off guard. The worst thing that could happen is getting through a critical point in your project, then realizing you don't have the funds for the rest of it, that is going to break your heart. Writing isn't just writing and art isn't just aren't unique resources to do these things. Consider in your list things like materials and printing costs, research materials, commissions costs, MC thing funds. And maybe even the time you need of work and losing shifts to do things like print runs are going from eating. Unless you have a guaranteed source of funding, these things tend to add up and snowball. And if you're publishing independently as we'll cover in another course down the road, there are potential emergency expenditures and investments you might have to make up front before any form of profit comes in. These need to be accounted for so low with us is it might be, you do have to consider it. Think about where the funds are coming from to every country might differ from each other. But there are several avenues that are applicable across the board, mostly. For one, government grants and funding from independent in commercial organizations might be available. Information about this, be it about open calls or yearly sponsorships are easily researchable online, but do your research and make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions. Similarly, Kickstarter and other fundraising apparent IS are also really viable. But again, do your research and make sure that you understand the system, the mechanics of it, its entirety, and be that you are able to deliver on your promises. Failed Kickstarter aren't uncommon, but you don't want to build a reputation for yourself, for flaking on your backers and not being able to follow through on making a final product. People have entrusted you with funds. So you only through a self, them to follow through. Another more flexible way to fund your work is to take commissions on platforms like patriarchy and coffee, or to sell merchandise. This is one way to do what you love, to find what you love. It's also a great way to network and get your name out there and form a potential audience and fanbase for your work. You might also mean potential friends and collaborators. Through this process. Makes sure the cecal would a market rates are and start a commission sheet so that you're not undercutting yourself and you never know what you get. However, you'll be cautious about weigh how much time you invest into commissions versus how much time you're spending on your projects. Hustling is so important, but so is you create a project. So keep your eye on the prize. 7. Conclusion: All right, You've made it. Thank you so much for joining me on this little planning journey, and I hope it's given you a better idea on how to get started with kicking off a little creative projects of your own. Feel free to reach out and communicate with me and my socials are in the comments section. And don't forget to download the materials and fill them out in your own time if you didn't get to do that during our session. In the meantime, you can check out my work at official doctrine on Instagram or keep up with my projects at www dot Chairman Thank you once again and see you at the next session. Bye bye.